contest logging dilemma


John Klem
 

Thanks to all who were able to provide me a few points in the contest last weekend.  It was a tough one, but I enjoyed checking out some new spots around the state, making contacts on 3 bands (need to get some 1296 experience before next time), having both digital and non-digital QSOs, and it was a beautiful Sunday morning near the continental divide down in the Apache National Forest in DM53.

Anyway, I'm looking for opinions regarding a dilemma I've been in a few times in these contests.  I imagine it's not specific to VHF contests or FT8, but those were my circumstances.  Here's the problem:

I'm trying to finish a QSO, sending "RRR" to the other guy.  When he hears that, we have a complete QSO.  If he doesn't, we don't. He's sending to me but I can't decode (substitute "understand" if you like) him.  Is he sending R or 73?  I don't know.  Suddenly the band fades and he is gone for good.  Do I log him or not?  He knows whether the QSO is complete, but I don't.

If it weren't a contest, I'd log him for sure.  If he didn't hear my RRR, he doesn't log me.  No big deal but no QSO.  If he did hear me, we're both good.

But it's a contest.  If I log him and he didn't hear/log me, I not only don't get the QSO points, I get a penalty.  But if I'm fearful of that and don't log him, but he heard and logged me, he gets no QSO points and a penalty and hates me.  What to do?

Can I ethically send him an email after the contest and ask if I'm in his log?

Can I send him a QSL via LoTW and see if I get a match?

I suppose a competitive contester would base his choice on his assessment of the likelihood that his QSO partner logged him, considering band conditions and any other relevant factors.  Maybe this situation has been debated to death or the question decided somewhere, but I haven't heard it.  It's not exactly a life-or-death matter, but it would be nice to have a guilt- and regret-free way of making the call.  Or maybe I'm just missing something.  Any thoughts are welcome.

73,

John, AA5PR

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